By CyberPsycho - 28/07/2016 16:24 - United States - Nashville

Today, I noticed quite a few scars on one of my coworker's legs. I pulled her aside and told her that self-harm was never the answer, and if she needed to talk I was always there. Turns out she's just clumsy and trips a lot. FML
I agree, your life sucks 12 122
You deserved it 6 133

Same thing different taste

Top comments

Making assumptions is a stupid thing to do, but then, if she DID inflict self-harm, it's not like she'd admit it that easily.

Don't let this one awkward misunderstanding stop you in the future. Keep doing this and one day you may save a life. Btw you're a really good person for caring


Don't let this one awkward misunderstanding stop you in the future. Keep doing this and one day you may save a life. Btw you're a really good person for caring

Making assumptions is a stupid thing to do, but then, if she DID inflict self-harm, it's not like she'd admit it that easily.

It never hurts to show that you notice and care enough to pull them aside, even if OP was wrong about the cause of the scars.

OP could've shown that she cared, without mentioning the self-harm bit. That's a really personal subject, in my opinion.

I'm not sure, maybe it's good to let people feel they can talk openly about it instead of hiding their struggles in shame. I had a similar situation where I noticed marks on my friend and didn't say anything, only for her to open up about it years later, maybe I could have helped her feel more understood at the time if I hadn't kept quiet?

#12, your thoughts are noble, but if you were in the habit of hurting yourself, would you ever open up to someone who seemingly cornered you? It IS a painful, personal subject, and nobody wants it to be brought up by a random co-worker. Do note that OP didn't say the person was a friend - much less a close one.

Ok first of all, no one said anything about it being a random co worker. And being someone who has struggled with self harm, I would appreciate that someone actually cared enough to ask if I was ok. It really wasn't that weird of Op to talk to the coworker. All Op was trying to do was help the coworker out and make them feel like they have someone to talk to. I don't even see this as an fml. Op was just trying to be nice.

Honestly I wished someone had pulled me aside and asked me if I was alright. Instead I got weird and pity looks. But no one spoke to me about it. So I thought it was okay to hurt myself. If someone had pulled me aside sooner I probably wouldn't have as much scars as I do now. I would have been grateful for someone like OP

zeusdom 15

I'm sure it wasn't a random co-worker MOST people wouldn't even bring it up or say anything if they weren't already somewhat close, at least close enough to let them know they can be open about it. OP did the right thing and cared about a co worker and friend

I don't know, guys. You're entitled to your opinion, and I'm entitled to mine. I've been there, too. And I've had close friends who've self-harmed. And none of us would, under any circumstances, want to be questioned about it by ANYONE. Guess we're just different people with different experiences.

Maybe someone who self-harms wouldn't want to be questioned about it, but what people want and what they need are often two very different things. Being a true friend to somebody means that you don't avoid painful topics just to spare both of you some temporary discomfort, especially when in the long term it would be more damaging to ignore the problem. It's far better to let someone know you care than to shut your eyes and hope the problem will disappear on its own.

41, someone noticing my self harm cuts and talking to me about it helped me stop. Don't assume everyone doesn't like it

Mortoli 30

eh its the difference in ideals if you will i used to self harm in a sense, but i ended up finding out one of my friends used to take knives to his arm. poor kid had scars all over i never really mentioned anything to him and regret that. i dont remember exactly what we talked about but im sure i asked if he still did it. sometimes people want to talk about it but they refuse to mention it to anyone. if your going to talk about it you have to bring it up to them. dont dodge the pleas for help but actually talk to them what op did wasnt exactly wrong, he/she just didnt have all of the info he/she needed. my advice in these scenarios is ask how they ended up with the cuts and bruises. if she avoids it may want to look into it... it could be self harm or it could be abusive bf parent etc. its never too late to help someone. could even save a life.

I've had friends, and girlfriends who self harmed. I've had friends attempt, and one friend commit suicide. If I see someone who is just a friend on social media just start posting negative stuff, I'll DM them and ask how they're doing. A few don't answer, but the ones who do, were starting to slide down the whole to depression. They were glad to have anyone who actually cared to hear them talk reach out to them. OP did the right thing, if it's a clumsy coworker, no harm, no foul. If the coworker is harming themself, they may think even for a second that the OP cared enough to ask, and that may make all the difference.

OP never even questioned the co worker or asked the coworker if she self harmed. All Op did was tell them that they were there if they wanted to talk and that self harm isn't the answer. Which self harm isn't the answer, it's a way of coping but it is harmfull. That being said, it's hard to stop self harming once you've started.

uchihadesendent 14

I would rather assume and try to help someone then turn a blind eye knowing I could have done something.

Nobody is assuming everyone doesn't like it. But when you don't know, it's best not to bring it up. As someone who has both self-harmed and is extremely clumsy so I have a lot of scars from that, I don't want someone talking to me about it unless we are extremely close and I start the conversation. Being told self-harm is never the answer would hurt me too, I had someone straight up look at me and just tell me to stop and it hurt more than anything because it's not that easy, and I honestly wouldn't care if "self harm is never the answer." It helped, so I did it, but it embarrassed me enough to the point that I don't want it pointed out.

you can never be too sure about these things op let flow under the bridge and forget about it

Reminds me of the song "Luka", just because she says she "trips a lot" doesn't mean anything...

"If you ask, that's what I'll say It's not your business anyway" See what you mean, but it could be that the OP's coworker just falls a lot. Either way, it would be a bit awkward to keep asking after that. The OP could try to show that they care in other ways though

Good on you for being concerned for your peers, but next time, perhaps just ask what happened/if they're okay rather than jumping to conclusions.

or mention you've noticed, and you're not sure of the cause for the marks, but IF you need someone, I'm here

It's nice that you care about your co-workers enough to try and help! Not necessarily the best way to approach the issue though - if someone is actually self harming telling them not to will often make them defensive. Instead just ask why they're doing it and talk about it without any judgement.

While your heart is in the right place, that definitely wasn't the most tactful way to put it. If you suspect someone is self harming, it's best to pull them aside to somewhere very private, ask them what happened, and let them know that if they need someone to talk to that you are available or that there are resources out there.

Well, that's pretty much what he did do..

Not really. It's not uncommon for people who suffer from a socially sensitive subject- be it self harm, domestic abuse, or some form of exploitation- to become highly defensive if someone attempting to help them directly states the cause of the injuries, due to the way society portrays such issues as being the victim's fault. So by saying that "self harm isn't the answer," OP would have put the coworker on the defensive, especially if they were a self harmed. Hence why asking about the source of the injuries is better- it puts the ball in the persons court.

It's really great that you care and offered support! I would say though that your approach wasn't ideal just in terms of telling her it's not the answer. It's better to open communications without making judging statements like that one. Kudos to you for trying though :) As a tip: Don't tell a selfharmer to stop. It is simply a maladaptive coping mechanism. There will be underlying issues causing it, and those are what need to be healed. People tend to feel judged and become withdrawn/defensive when told what they're doing is wrong.

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TigranPet 24

Well at least he was trying to be a nice person, unlike you.

Garnetshaddow 30

Your heart was in the right place... but YDI. As somebody with a lot of scars, I am always mortified when people try to talk to me about self harm. I don't cut, I just have a problem with obsessive picking. It gets worse with stress. I can't always hide all the little scrapes, scratches and scars. I've had people walk up to me and ask why I put out cigarettes on my skin, why I cut, if I need recommendations for therapy, and a number of other thoughtless comments. Every time I just want to crawl away and cry. I can't help the way my skin looks. YOU can help people feel better by pretending you don't see things that are so obviously distressing. Never humiliate people in public. It's just rude. If you have concerns, ask somebody you're close to or take your concerns to a manager. It's still humiliating, but at least you haven't made a public spectacle of the person you're trying to help.

#13 "YOU can help people feel better by pretending you don't see things that are so obviously distressing. " While this may apply to you, I'm not sure if this is the best all-round advice either, just 'pretending' not to notice. Surely there are huge possible dangers to this as well? Especially with movements like 'R U OK' day where society is trying to raise awareness about talking more openly about mental health and stuff because there are some people who desperately would benefit from it. I'm not trying to invalidate your opinion, but I think that if you always perceive strangers' concerns for you as 'thoughtless' or somehow an indication that your skin is ugly or shameful, you may be projecting your own shame/self-loathing onto others. I'm sure sometimes people may be mean on purpose, but if they are trying to help and give you resources for help I don't think they would be looking at you/your skin with the disgust or pity you seem to perceive.

for me I have to say op came on a little strong unless they have a work friendship. but, I don't think that asking if she was okay was the wrong thing to do. if anything we need more information on the relationship the two have and based on that we could help improve ways to open a topic like that with out jumping to any rash decisions. that is just my opinion though....

r83839 22

As someone who needed help throughout my life, the thing that angered me the most was all the people who knew what was happening and pretended not to notice. Please don't actively ignore people who need help. Some people like #13 may not want it, but I certainly did.

I think skin picking is considered a form of self-harm though. It's considered more of an OCD-like behavior that's caused by anxiety than a coping mechanism like cutting is. I've struggled with skin picking on and off since my teens and my experiences are somewhat similar to if I were cutting, like feeling ashamed and trying to hide it from other people and some relief from doing it. Even when other people told me not to do it, I couldn't stop myself. I'd pick at my wounds, which would keep opening them up so that they didn't heal properly and left scars. If you're skin picking is as bad as it sounds like it is, you should probably get help. You could have OCD or another anxiety disorder and therapy and anti-anxiety medication might help. Don't get mad at other people for bringing it up because they're just trying to help.